Thursday, June 2, 2016

2016 Debut Authors Bash - Featuring Anna Breslaw

I want to start off this awesome event by thanking Nichole from YAReads for letting me know about the 2016 Debut Authors Bash and inviting me to be a part of it. It has been a fantastic time: getting to know my author, getting to know her book, and now getting to share some content with you that I think is a whole lot of fun.

I got to do an interview with Anna Breslaw, the author of Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here. I remember seeing this book blurbed somewhere along the lines, probably on Goodreads, and I hadn't looked into it indepth until I realized that 1) I wanted to read more debuts this year 2) it's a book about a fangirl and what happens when her fandom suddenly goes away and 3) that Anna really gets what it means to be a fan, whether you're a fanboy, fangirl, whatever.

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. And if they ever find out what Scarlett truly thinks about them, she’ll be thrust into a situation far more dramatic than anything she’s ever seen on TV…

It also helped when I saw that this book was recommended for fans of some of my favorite books and television show: Fangirl, Veronica Mars, Daria, etc. I think if you have ever had a fandom that meant more to you than a passing stranger might understand, you should definitely take a look at Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here.

In the mean time, check out my interview with Anna below:

When you were Scarlett's age, what was your version of Lycanthrope High?

That’s easy: Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Season 2 in particular, and the high school years, were my everything. And like Scarlett, it really informed my writing a lot. It’s probably why I gravitate towards grounded fantasy/sci-fi metaphors for our modern-day experiences, and also why I try to make all my characters complex and well-rounded, following the Whedon example of setting up and then knocking down stereotypes. Particularly female stereotypes.

As a Hufflepuff, what is the one thing you want people to know about being in that house, or one misconception you'd want to clear up?

There are SO MANY MISCONCEPTIONS I would like to clear up! First of all, being a Hufflepuff doesn’t make you dumb. Loyalty does not equal low intelligence. (And frankly, you’re probably a Slytherin if you think it does.) I think of Hufflepuff basically as Gryffindor minus the constant need for glory and attention. We put our heads down and do the work without expecting a parade, and value fairness and empathy above all things. Cedric Diggory was a Hufflepuff and he was the MAN. OK, done.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Battlestar Galactica.

While writing Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here, did you have any particularly low moments where you weren't sure you were doing right thing? If so, how did you get past them?

The fanfiction parts were a struggle at first. I wasn’t sure what the tone should be. I wanted it to be different from the first-person story, but not so different the reader would feel like they weren’t getting what they signed up for. I also wasn’t sure how serious of a concept Scarlett would come up with—like if the story would be more melodramatic and romantic or more of a grounded high-school satire. My editors Jessica Almon and Marissa Grossman at Penguin Random House ended up suggesting the direction I went in, which was more of the latter than the former, and felt really right for the book.

What piece of press has surprised you the most since Scarlett Epstein's been released, whether it be a review, a starred rating, etc.?

People have said it’s refreshing and uncommon that my main character is from a lower-middle-class single-parent family and Jewish. That was funny to hear, since it’s basically my background. And I got a starred Kirkus review, which was an absolutely delightful surprise.

What celebrity meet and greet would have you fan girling the most?

Oh my God, a lot. Kyle Chandler, Amy Schumer, Conan O’Brien... but honestly I’d probably flip out over most of them. It’s easy in theory to pick your favorites and say you’d be really blase about anyone else, but if I met like, The Rock, or Martin Short, or the lady from the Progressive commercials, I’d probably lose my shit.

What about Scarlett, do you think, is the most relatable to girls her age?

I think the feeling of being different from other people your age and just waiting for your “real life” to start is pretty relatable. To girls who like to read, at least. I think part of what makes someone a really voracious reader as a teenager is the excitement of immersing yourself in a bigger world than your own. No matter where you are, or how unfulfilled or ostracized you might be feeling, books give you this sense of infinite possibility that makes you see there’s a better life waiting for you. It was definitely like that for me, anyway. Sometimes I think reading a lot saved my life, in a way.

If you could cross Scarlett's book over with another one, which would you choose and why?

That’s such a good question. Maybe Me And Earl and the Dying Girl. I think Scarlett and Greg are alienated kindred spirits in a way, and would be capable of having a conversation entirely in pop-culture references (and yeah, she’d probably have a crush on him).

Do you have a favorite writing method? Pen & paper, mobile phone, etc.?

I write in Microsoft Word, but jot down little idea lightning-bolts regarding whatever I’m working on in a pad I keep next to my laptop. Which inevitably get lost or forgotten whenever I turn the page. It’s a bad system.

Which do you feel is more difficult, the writing stage or the editing stage?

Editing is like 1000% harder, at least for me. It’s a challenge to look back at the big picture and try to see the structure/plot with fresh eyes and improve it, which is why editors are so invaluable.

Do you think you'll write more books about fangirls (or fanboys!) like Scarlett in the future or try something different?

I may revisit fan culture at some point, but for now I’m definitely onto different stuff. While I was writing the book, I found myself really interested in the inner life of Ashley the popular girl, so I think my next protagonist’s going to be a queen-bee type “mean girl” who’s smarter and more complex than she lets on. And the love story might be more front-and-center this time.

About the Author

Anna Breslaw is a New York-based freelance writer and author who previously wrote for Cosmo and has also been a contributing writer for Jezebel and
She has a weakness for Kyle Chandler and Devil Dogs. 
Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here is her debut novel. 

Thank you to Anna for answering my questions and giving us a little more insight into who she is as an author and a fangirl.

Please don't forget to check out all the other amazing stops on the 2016 Debuts Authors Bash Tour starting June 1, tour dates listed below. Enjoy the rounds!

June 1st

My Book Addiction – Kristy Acevedo

SleepsOnTables – Michele Bacon

Adventures in Writing – Jennifer DiGiovanni

Sci-Fi and Scary – Margaret Dilloway

YaReads – A. E. Conran

BookCatPin – Anna Michels

June 2nd

Alice Reeds – Sarah Alexander

The Hermit Librarian – Anna Breslaw

Me, Myshelf, and I – Melissa Gorzelanczyk

Pulp and Mystery Shelf – Kim Savage

With Love for Books – Kat Helgeson

June 3rd

Let Me Tell You A Story – Amy Allgeyer

Gabriella M Reads – Tobie Easton

Bookish Wanderlove – Emily Martin

Brittany’s Book Rambles – Robin Reul

Kirstyes – Books, Occupation – Magic! – Jennifer Mason-Black

Diane’s Book Blog – Michael Miller

Pimples, Popularity, and Protagonists – R.S. Grey

June 4th

Ink Sisters Write – Brooks Benjamin

21st Century Once Upon A Times – Lucy Keating

With Love for Books – Amber Smith

Swoony Boys Podcast – Mia Siegert

Vi3tBabe – Judy Sheehan

June 5th

Diane’s Book Blog – Sarah Ahiers

Cover2Cover – Kerry Kletter

The Candid Cover – Jenny Moyer

Lost in Lit – Katherine Fleet

Alice Reeds – Jenny Manzer

June 6th

Gabriella M Reads – Ami Allen-Vath

Two Chicks on Books – Nicole Castroman

Lisa Loves Literature – Janet B. Taylor

Downright Dystopian – Jeff Garvin

June 7th

The Hardcover Lover – Ashley Herring Blake

Here’s to Happy Endings – Meg Leder

Vox Libris – Catherine Lo

YaReads – Scarlett Kol

The Book Cellar – Julie Hammerle

Ink Sisters Write – Kenneth Logan

Pimples, Popularity, and Protagonists – Jenna Welch

June 8th

Go Read A Book – Natalie Blitt

Curling Up With A Good Book – Lindsey Klingele

Across the Bookiverse – Kathy MacMillan

The Reading Nook Reviews – Rebecca Podos

June 9th

The Book Beacon – Andrew Brumbach

The Turning Pages – Shannon M. Parker

Book Lovers Life – Patrick Samphire

Bibliophilia, Please – Gordon Jack

June 10th

With Love for Books – Harriet Reuter Hapgood

the bookdragon – Marisa Reichardt

Cue My Muse – Laura Shovan

Rockin’ Book Reviews – Bryan Methods

June 11th

Kirstyes – Books, Occupation – Magic! – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Arctic Books – Laura Tims

Book Lovers Life – Sarah Schauerte Reida

June 12th

Bibliophilia, Please – Julie Eshbaugh

Mundie Kids – Robin Yardi

YaReads – Martine Lewis

June 13th

Little Book Heaven – Michelle Andreani

YaReads – Carrie Firestone

Me, Myshelf, and I – Peter HoffMeister

Emily Reads Everything – Emily Skrutskie

June 14th

Downright Dystopian – Christian McKay Heidicker

Brittany’s Book Rambles – Kerri Maniscalco

Platypire Reviews – Nanci Turner Steveson

June 15th

My Book Addiction – Jennie K Brown

Sci-Fi and Scary – Jennifer Bardsley

June 16th

Milky Way of Books – Ava Jae

Rachel’s Book Reviews – Jeff Zentner

June 17th

Write Writing Written – Lily Anderson

Two Chicks on Books – Kim Zarins

Pink Polka Dot Books – Heather Smith Meloche

June 18th

Pimples, Popularity, and Protagonists – K.C. Held

Wishful Endings – Elizabeth Briggs

Cue My Muse – Lee Gjertsen Malone

June 19th

Read.Sleep.Repeat. – Rahul Kanakia

YaReads – Dee Romito

With Love for Books – Jessica Taylor

June 20th

YaReads – Kurt Dinan

A Perfection Called Books – Erin Summerill

21st Century Once Upon A Times – Riley Redgate

My Book Addiction – Janet Sumner Johnson

June 21st

YaReads – J. Keller Ford

What’s Write About This – Erin Teagan

Alice Reeds – Aditi Khorana

Latte Nights Reviews – Mia Garcia

June 22nd

Pink Polka Dot Books – Emily France

Emily Reads Everything – Sonya Mukherjee

YaReads – Everly Frost

Little Book Heaven – Paula Garner

June 23rd

Latte Nights Reviews – Kathleen Glasgow

Bookish Wanderlove – Karen Hattrup

June 24th

My Bookish Year – Erica M Chapman

The Eater of Books! – Julie Buxbaum

The Book Cellar – Jill Diamond

YaReads – Dana Elmendorf

June 25th

Pretty Deadly Reviews – Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

My Book Addiction – Erin Petti

SleepsOnTables – Parker Peevyhouse

The Phantom Paragrapher – Julie Leung

June 26th

The Book Cellar – Evangeline Denmark

The Reading Nook Reviews – Kathryn Purdie

Gabriella M Reads – Stephanie Scott

Read.Sleep.Repeat. – Lisa A. Koosis

June 27th

The Book Beacon – Claire Fayers

YaReads – Cheryl Blackford

Bookish Wanderlove – Jenn P. Nguyen

Bibliophilekid – Emily Cox and Nicole Allen

BookCatPin – Laura Stampler

June 28th

Pandora’s Books – Audrey Coulthurst

My Book Addiction – Abby Cooper

Downright Dystopian – Katie Kennedy

Hannah Plus Books – Tom Crosshill

Book Lovers Life – Cynthia Reeg

June 29th

Media Geeks Unite – Tricia Clasen

Tigersbooksandme – Destiny Soria

Mindjacked – Margot Harrison

books are love – Caleb Roehrig

Emily Reads Everything – Janet McNally

Platypire Reviews – Tara Sims

YaReads – Isabel Bandeira

June 30th

On Starships and Dragonwings – Traci Chee

Doodle’s Book Reviews – Meghan Rogers

Pandora’s Books – Kathleen Burkinshaw

Bibliophilia, Please – Bridget Hodder

Swoony Boys Podcast – Krystal Sutherland

Alice Reeds – Karen Fortunati

My Book Addiction – Mike Grosso

The Reading Nook Reviews – Lindsey Roth Culli

Book Lover’s Life– Abigail Johnson

YaReads – Sarah Glenn Marsh

What’s Write About This – Wade Albert White

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  1. Thanks so much for joining the 2016 Debut Authors Bash!